MAHLER: Symphony of a Thousand

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Gramophone Magazine asks: To celebrate Mahler's birthday on July 7, we ask: which recording of his vast Eighth Symphony is best?

Mahler’s Eighth Symphony is the calling-card for all orchestras with ambition: but which ones should you welcome in, asks Ken Smith.(Originally published in Gramophone, December 2008.)

As soon as I got the invitation I immediately called my wife to tell her why I’d be gone for the rest of the week. 'The Macau International Music Festival just asked me to sing in the chorus of Mahler’s Eighth,' I explained. 'Seems they did a head-count the other night and came up with only nine hundred and ninety-nine.'

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